Practical, Real-Life Applications for the Most Common Styles of Dance
With so many dance styles in the world, choosing which one to learn can be overwhelming. The easiest way to settle on a style, of course, is to first decide what you want to get out of it. Every dance has its own unique flavor, as well as skills that may apply both on and off the dance floor.
Best Real-World Application: adding some spice to your errands
Tap is ideal for people who don’t possess an innate sense of rhythm. Every click and clack of the shoes matches a specific beat, so it’s as easy to dance as it is to count to eight. And because it usually follows standard rhythms, you can tap dance to any type of music. After a few classes, test out your tapping in the grocery store, where there’s always music playing.
Best Real-World Application: helping you balance on the bus
Ballet isn’t just about putting on a tutu and twirling. It also helps with your posture and alignment, so that you're working both sides of your body equally. To put that newfound balance to good use, try standing without wobbling on the bus or train.
Best Real-World Application: learning to communicate with loved ones
Body language is how we convey our feelings to others. Similarly, the waltz is all about using your hands, hips, and shoulders to lead or follow a partner. Dancing the waltz makes it easier not only to communicate your own thoughts, but also to interpret what others really mean when they say “I love you” or “Your shirt is on fire.”
Best Real-World Application: conquering terrifying roller coasters
Swing dancing is instantly recognizable by its quick spins, jazz hands, and over-the-back flips. After being slung around and flipped upside down by your partner, you’ll be ready to tackle whatever the amusement park throws at you.
Best Real-World Application: flirting
With its twisting hips and curling bodies, salsa is the language of love. Off the dance floor, all that emotion translates into the ultimate romantic superpower: confidence.
Best Real-World Application: public speaking
Generally speaking, there's more room for interpretation in a modern or contemporary dance class, though though the objective is still about translating words and feelings into expressive movements. Becoming more comfortable with your body can help you express things more clearly—whether you’re delivering a presentation or trying to convince a room full of people to marry you.
Best Real-World Application: impressing crowds, on the street or in the club
Breakdancing is one of the most thrilling—and difficult—dance styles to master. This makes it just the form to help you if you’re hitting the clubs, especially if your goal is to impress.
Best Real-World Application: making new friends
Folk dancing is about more than just learning steps and techniques. Over the centuries, it’s been a way for cultural communities to come together and socialize. In other words, folk dancing’s emphasis on community makes it one of the best ways to break the ice with strangers.
Photos: Andrew Nawrocki, Groupon.
Stephanie McDaniel is a political theorist-turned-novelist from South Carolina. On the rare occasion she’s not writing, she spends her time folk dancing, singing, and adding sea salt to Lake Michigan.